Making Movement a Habit

Regular exercise is the only well-established fountain of youth, and it’s free. What, I’d like to know, will persuade the majority of Americans who remain sedentary to get off their duffs and give their bodies the workout they deserve? – Jane E Brody NY TIMES

The exacerbation in the writer’s voice in the article: “Even More Reasons to Get a Move On” is palatable. It is the frustration and dilema American’s face everyday.

This article is clear and concise. Exercise offers big benefits and little concerns. It’s a win win, but how to get people to do it?

If I had a nickel for every time I tried to get a client to do a few minutes of exercise a day…

In the same breath, I understand how hard it can be to stop and take time to do something for yourself.

It becomes less about the activity and more about learning how to create a new habit.

So, how DO you create a new habit?

Psyblog has a nice article about the science behind forming habits.

Most of the habit forming suggestions come down to:  1. defining exactly what the habit is, 2. list the benefits the new habit will bring to your life, 3. list the negatives if you don’t create the new habit,  and 4. remove roadblocks to new habit 5.commit to 3 weeks of new said habit.

This is a relative battle between each person and their habit. I think there is much more involved to truly make fitness habitual.  Some people do it in 21 days, others might take 100. Remember, we are talking habits, not temporary changes.

Here are 2 additional tips that will help make any fitness habit more successful:

6. Start small. If you could do 10 minutes to 20 minutes of exercise every morning – the time it takes for the coffee to brew – you could see and feel significant changes in your health and well-being over the course of one year.

7. Make sure it’s something you enjoy. I cannot stress this enough. If it feels like exercise, then it most likely won’t last. Listen to your gut and find that activity that will boost your heart rate and energy. Enjoying your new habit doesn’t mean it is always easy to get there everyday, but it must be something that once you are there and in the moment, you feel good.

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